The Way We Work
July 20, 2011 by Stephanie Gonzaga

Your portfolio plays a very important role in your quest for good freelance work on oDesk. This particular section displays your past and present projects, pieces that you’re particularly proud of and that should encourage employers to hire you.

Normally you might just upload screenshots and files and choose the right categories, but it’s possible to tweak your portfolio in ways that will really convince the employer to hire you as his contractor. Here are four excellent tips on how to make your portfolio work better for you:

1. Have a portfolio piece for each service you provide.

You’re a freelancer who specializes in Service A, B, and C. If you’re aiming for employers looking for these three services, showcase work where you used each of your specialties in particular.

For example, I’m a copywriter that loves working with product descriptions, blogging, and website copy. To show employers that these are the services I provide and that I’m good at, I upload three to five portfolio items that display my latest product copywriting, blogging projects, and website copywriting projects. Each one is categorized separately and has their own unique project description.

2. Write a well-written description for each portfolio piece.

man-writing-pencilUtilize the project description textbox by writing a brief but interesting story of how your project came to be. You can start by writing what your main task was, how you tackled the employer’s problem or met his requirements, and other important details about the project.

What’s important here is that it’s short and concise enough to tell the prospect what you did with this project, what skills you used, and how you successfully nailed the employer’s goals.  One or two short paragraphs should do the trick.

3. Update your portfolio with the latest screenshots and links.

A screenshot of your latest published article, website, or logo, plus a link to each, will certainly help keep your chances of winning freelance projects high. The employer can easily take a look at the screenshot to see what the project looks like, and then click on the link to see the actual work up close.

If you’ve made any changes to your old portfolio pieces, make sure to take and upload a new screenshot of it and that its URL is correct.

4. Delete or revamp old projects that don’t reflect your skills as a freelancer.

red-delete-buttonChances are you have old projects in your portfolio that you’ve outgrown already. Now that you’ve honed and improved your skills, you wouldn’t want your future employers to see obsolete projects that don’t truly reflect how good you’ve become.

Your best bet would be to either revamp these old projects using your latest skills, or delete them all together. If you feel that these projects still matter to you, you can edit them by applying new techniques to make them look shiny and new again. Otherwise, just delete these projects and make room for new ones.

Here’s a bonus tip: Don’t settle. Every project you bring to the table comes with a hefty side dish of experience and growth, both of which will make you a more valuable professional in the market. This improvement is what you want your employers to see, so don’t ever hesitate to push out excellent work each and every time. As soon as your employer gives permission to use the finished project in your portfolio, upload the screenshot, paste the link, and point it out to the next employer in line.

Take a look at your portfolio right now. How is it doing? Is it bringing in new interview invitations, or does it need a fresh start? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Stephanie Gonzaga

Freelancer, Blogger, and Creative Writer

Stephanie Gonzaga is a freelancer on oDesk and blogger of The Freelance Pinoy, a freelancing blog for the Pinoy solo professional.